Friday, June 30, 2017

EmmDev 2017-06-30 [Lessons from Samuel] Conforming


But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."
21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. 22 The LORD answered, "Listen to them and give them a king."      (1Samuel8:19-22)
Romans 12:2 says "...don't conform to the standards of this world..." JB Philips translated it as: "don't let the world squeeze you into its mould." Jesus talked about the wide and the narrow way... The narrow way is hard while the wide is easy and many find it.

Israel wanted the wide way....

They wanted to look like everyone else. They wanted to fit in. They wanted to be accepted.

Peer pressure is a powerful force that works at the level of individuals, but also in groups and here we see a fledgling nation succumb to its pressure.

The bizarre thing is the sacrifices people will make to fit in:

  • People go through a painful process to get a tattoo that in a few years time may be an embarrassment.
  • People wear overly expensive and uncomfortable clothes and shoes just to be seen as cool.
  • People get into debt, just to have a car or house that others will admire.

But the great tragedy in today's passage is that Israel will choose to be subject to the whims, foibles and greed of imperfect human kings rather than be the subjects of a faithful, merciful and loving God whose patience and kindness is revealed in the latitude He allows them, by granting them their wish because, although He knows that their choice will have unpleasant consequences, He will not violate their freedom. (He does repeatedly warn them and urge them to make the better choice...)

We have choices everyday. Peer pressure is present in our social circles and media, in our norms and values and at individual, group and national level. God's Word guides and informs us. The Holy Spirit whispers into our hearts. But the choice remains ours.

How will you choose today?

I'll be taking a break from writing EmmDevs for the school holidays. I will resume on 25th July. I hope these last few weeks from Samuel have been helpful and interesting.

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